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Tonopah Mining Company of Nevada records

Creation: 1901-1956
Accession: 1972


The majority of the records for the parent company consist of correspondence, both incoming and outgoing, primarily generated by or for company officers and/or directors.


  • Creation: 1901-1956



38 Linear Feet

Historical Note

The Tonopah Mining Company of Nevada was incorporated on July 12, 1901 in Delaware for the purpose of developing and operating a gold and silver ores property at Tonopah, Nevada. The company was formed by a group of Philadelphia businessmen; throughout Tonopah's history, it was managed by eastern capitalists. The company maintained a mining operations office in Tonopah, Nevada and a business office in Philadelphia where the records were kept and the annual meetings were held.

Within several years, subsidiary companies were formed to operate a mill for ore treatment, a steam plant to generate electricity for the mine, and a railroad to transport the ores. The Tonopah Mining Company of Nevada began exploration and development for additional metal mines in 1910. Over several decades, properties were purchased in Colorado, Nevada, Canada, and Nicaragua. Most of the subsidiary mining companies proved unsuccessful and the operations were limited. The parent company provided all funds for preliminary development work, plant installation, and working capital. All of the subsidiaries were incorporated in Delaware.

The work at the Tonopah mines was hampered by labor shortages and development work was stopped during 1917-1919. Mining costs increased due to decreased tonnage from the underground workings, and the increase in the wage scale and the cost of supplies. The company saw mixed results in the 1920s.

Mining operations at Tonopah were closed for several months in 1930 but the mines were reopened under the leasing system. During 1933 and 1934 the number of lessees at the Tonopah mine increased due to the rise in the price of gold and silver and total net profits increased during those years. However, by the 1940s, the company was clearly on the decline The grade of ore at the Tonopah mine and the number of lessees had consistently decreased. Net profits continued to fall due to reduced tonnage, increased costs and lower values of silver ore. Leasing had remained profitable until 1944; the shortage of lessees reduced production so that the company was just breaking even.

Scope and Content

The collection primarily consist of records for the parent company consist of correspondence, both incoming and outgoing, primarily generated by or for company officers and/or directors. It covers a wide variety of topics such as Tonopah's stock investments, legal disputes with stockholders, sale of company equipment, insurance for the company's Nevada property, cash reports, and the banks in which the company had its accounts. There is correspondence between the company's officers and its auditors and attorneys retained to to provide services and advice. Additional ongoing correspondence includes annual reports to the board and officers and correspondence from the general superintendent for the company in Nevada.

The records of the Tonopah Mining Company of Nevada and its subsidiaries are fairly complete, with the exception of limited extant correspondence for the parent company prior to 1934. The records provide detailed information for a comprehensive study of the growth and decline of an American gold and silver ore mining company in twentieth century America.

Related Materials

Tonopah Mining Company Records (MS-00752), Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Language of Materials


Additional Description


The Tonopah Mining Company of Nevada records were in the possession of the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware because the company, which was incorporated in Delaware, had filed for bankruptcy and was dissolved.

Related Names


Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Tonopah Mining Company of Nevada records
Finding aid prepared by Lynn Ann Catanese, 1992
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
Script of description:

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA